By Mike Deak
WARSAW – In the past decade, Warsaw has had Wawasee’s number when its counted. Other than a glaring Wawasee sectional title in 2010, the boys tennis rivalry has been heavily tilted in favor of Warsaw.
Not much changed Tuesday evening.
Warsaw won in straight sets on four of its courts to take away a 4-1 result against Wawasee at the Warsaw tennis complex, the 17th straight Tiger win in the series.
Two singles and two doubles were both lopsided Warsaw wins. Quinn Martin at two singles stayed steady and kept his unforced errors to a minimum in a one and one win over Nathan Harper. In the doubles grid, Tristan Anderson and Zachary Nicholas made relatively quick work in a love and two final over Zeke Keim and Ty Brooks.
Hayden Anderson and Holden Babb played a competitive set at No. 1 singles, but a bevy of unforced errors from Babb gave Anderson more free points than he knew what to do with. The Warsaw ace also did the work on the edges, working several winners down each corner in a one and three result.
“I don’t think Hayden struggled at all tonight,” stated Warsaw head coach Stacy Lind.“He either just punched back down the line or powered it. Hayden came out to win and limited his unforced errors, those were minimal. He made a lot of smart shots.”
Down the way at one doubles, Cole Rhodes and Michael Ray quietly worked their way through a fairly even matchup with Grant Brooks and Blaine Baut. Ray’s work at the net along with the clever positioning from Rhodes on shots where Wawasee lagged off the net afforded a four and four win for the Tiger duo.
“There has been a lot of things going on with the kids this year, with the pressure of classes and COVID and staying healthy, to the credit of our kids, they are coming out and playing to the best of their abilities,” Lind said.
Wawasee’s point came at three singles, a solid rally by Devon Kuhn over Jack Reed. Filling into the position as a mostly JV player, Reed won the first set 6-4 and had Kuhn down 2-1 in the second set, but a slight change in tactic from Kuhn yielded his lob shots to the back corner more successful, and eventually tied the match score at one after a 7-5 second set. Kuhn then used more of the same, a slow and steady mix of volleys and loft shots that had Reed moving around more than he was comfortable with. Kuhn sewed up a win at 6-4.
“Devon is one of those kids that needs a little momentum, and that fuels him,” said Wawasee head coach Mike Leedy. “Once he got going, he was off and running. There’s not a lot you need to say to him because he knows what he needs to do.”
Leedy also offered on his club that drops its fifth straight Northern Lakes Conference contest in as many tries with the conference tournament looming, “Physically, we are a gifted team. We just get into a hurry. We have so many shots we should put away, and they end up in the bottom of the net or sailing well out of bounds. Maybe our eyes get too big or we start thinking too much. Tonight it was unforced errors again. Those have to go way down if we want a chance in the postseason.”